5 December 2006
Here's your Allowance
The Allow Card is a prepaid Debit MasterCard pitched to parents of teenagers. It comes with a fistful of parental controls, of which perhaps the neatest is the ability to block out specific types of merchants. The limit, of course, is how much is loaded into the card at any given moment.
I'd probably feel better about this if the proponents weren't also suggesting it as a fundraising tool.
Posted at 8:01 AM to Common Cents
I used to create marketing for credit cards, and sometimes even created the card products and pitched them to banks. For years they contained 'smart chips' that did absolutely nothing (but did look kinda techy). I tried to get them to use the chips as foolproof student ID's, medical alerts and so on, building the cards' pitch around those functions. But the banks, natural-born followers, kept waiting for someone else to take that first step. Meanwhile, in Japan the cards did everything but sing (although some of them may have done that, too). It looks as if now that I'm no longer doing that work (at least not full-time), things are finally changing.
If we really wanted to shake up the banking system (and we should), we'd let WalMart do what they've been wanting to: Lend people money. Unhfortunately, politicians have even less vision than those bankers I once called clients.